All-new Ford Ranger debuts

The midsize pickup will feature a new exterior design, chassis and powertrain developed specifically for North American truck customers, according to a release.

The Ford Ranger will be powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine.

A special option package, called FX4, will provide off-road tires, specially tuned shock absorbers, all-terrain tires and protective plates on the underside of the truck.

Ranger fans and Donald Trump, get those hands ready to sign checks or Tweet because this Michigan-built truck is coming to market in early 2019.

"When you pair that with its 10-speed transmission, you've got one of the most versatile, powerful and efficient powertrains in the segment". While it only looks slightly different from the global Ranger that's been on sale outside North America for years and is the best-selling pickup in Europe, there are some differences.

Ford sold more than 6.6 million Rangers in the US over its 29-year history.

What's interesting is that, while it clearly bears some resemblance to the Ranger sold internationally, Ford says that this is no simple US-centric massage of that truck. Ford managers say the engine's torque is similar to that of competing V-6 engines while retaining the efficiency of a four-cylinder.

Inside, there's room for up to five people, an 8-inch center touch screen for audio, climate control and other functions, and the driver's gauge cluster includes two LCD screens for displaying the truck's information. In addition, there was only so much that Ford could do when it came to outfitting the truck with enough tech to meet more stringent safety and emissions standards.

Technology changes include automatic emergency braking and blind zone warning (with large sensors in the corner of the tail-lights) to be added to the current Ranger's radar cruise control and lane keeping assistance. It has four modes: Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, and Sand. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The latest version of Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system is optional, and comes with built-in WiFi and Ford+Alexa personal assistant, which can take notes, play music and interact with Google Home-compatible appliances.

We've seen spy photos of various versions of the Ranger over the past year, but this is our first chance to see it without any sort of camouflage hiding the details of the design. An electronic locking rear differential is optional, standard on FX2 and FX4 models.

An optional extra for the new vehicle includes the F-150 FX4 Off-Road package which allows power or the brakes to be sent to each wheel while off-roading. Already a fondly-remembered nameplate in North America and the second-best-selling mid-size pickup outside of that market, the 2019 model is dramatically improved from the last Ranger sold there, and it's been torture-tested using the very same grueling regimen that the F-150 is subjected to. This means the technology will send power or brakes to each wheel as needed so drivers can keep their eyes on steering while off-road driving.

  • Joey Payne